Buying a Maisonette in Berlin
What is a maisonette?
A traditional maisonette is an apartment spanning two levels connected by an interior staircase. Often referred to as duplexes, these apartments are usually located on the very top of multi-storey buildings, connecting the topmost storey with the one directly below. You’ll also sometimes find maisonettes on the ground and basement-level storeys of a building. In that case, you should pay particular attention to the lighting and windows, as spaces below ground level can often feel dark.
Buying a maisonette or duplex apartment in Berlin
More partitions, more privacy
The spatial separation of the storeys in a maisonette or duplex offers not only greater privacy, but also more stylistic flexibility compared to traditionally structured flats. This can be especially useful for freelancers and professionals working from a home office, for whom separation of working and living space can be essential to productivity. Families, too, can take advantage of the two-storey set-up to create a distinct “kids area” on the top floor, where children can roam free while their parents enjoy the peace and quiet below. Maisonettes also allow for a clear separation between bedrooms and more public living spaces.
Apartment living, house feeling
A plot of land with a house and a yard is not always financially feasible. But thanks to its floorplan and layout, a maisonette apartment can be the perfect alternative. It’s no coincidence, after all, that the word maisonette is French for “little house.”
Dividing your living space between two storeys can create the feeling you’d get in a freestanding home, with practical floorplans and high ceilings adding to an overall impression of grandeur. Skilful home decor can enhance the effect: think floor-to-ceiling plants spread over both levels, think elongated ceiling lamps – or indirect light sources – that provide optimal illumination and a warm and cosy atmosphere.
If you’re considering buying a maisonette or duplex, you might also want to put some thought into the interior staircase. These usually serve as the aesthetic centrepiece of the bottom storey and can often be customised. Choose from glass, wood, or metal in a range of styles, with “winding” as a perennial favourite thanks to its sleek appearance and space-saving properties. Keep in mind, however, that staircases can become a hazard, especially for older residents (see below).
Higher heating costs
Prospective maisonette owners should anticipate higher heating costs compared to a standard apartment, not least because the open structure of a maisonette does not retain heat well. On top of that, and because heat always rises, the lower level of the maisonette will require additional heating to keep a balanced temperature across the entire space.
Staircase as hazard
The staircase at the heart of a maisonette or duplex can quickly become dangerous under certain circumstances – like, for example, when there are small children in the house. It’s thus critical that an interior staircase be sufficiently secured. If you plan to buy a maisonette for personal use, keep in mind that a staircase can also be problematic for seniors or people with limited mobility. In general, maisonettes are best suited for younger residents and couples, or investors who plan to let.
If you’re thinking about buying a maisonette or duplex, you should ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do I plan to occupy this apartment in old age?
Anyone planning to buy a maisonette or duplex should consider whether they would like to buy the property for long-term personal use or treat it as an investment to let to tenants as personal circumstances change.
2. Do I want a staircase as the centrepiece of my home?
A maisonette staircase can be beautifully integrated into an interior concept, but it also takes up valuable space that could otherwise be used for more furniture.
3. Is the apartment energy efficient?
The partially open structure of a maisonette or duplex can make for poor efficiency, particularly when it comes to heat. Make sure to carefully consider the open space around the stairs. Does it allow too much heat to rise? If so, do the upstairs rooms have doors to improve heat retention?
If you have a passion for exclusive properties, you may also want to browse our offers for more homes in the luxury sector, including lofts, atelier apartments, and penthouses.